Florida Hospitals Are Running Out of Morgue Space due to High Number of COVID Deaths

Florida is reporting an average of 227 deaths from COVID-19 per day

Covid death toll
Workers move bodies of COVID-19 victims. Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty

A Florida hospital system overrun with deaths from COVID-19 has run out of morgue space.

AdventHealth said Thursday that its Central Division morgues are at full capacity and that the backup is likely due to a slowdown at funeral homes in the area, thus causing Advent Health to "hold decedents for a longer period of time," news station WFTV reported.

AdventHealth said that it is using portable coolers in the meantime, but those are also quickly filling up.

"We have begun utilizing rented, refrigerated coolers at 10 of our campuses throughout Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia counties," they told WFTV. "These coolers are quickly becoming filled also."

WFTV reported that AdventHealth has asked for help from the Florida Hospital Association, but that they are unable to request aid from the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System because the state is not currently under a disaster declaration.

"We have a robust emergency management program, which has allowed us to continue to care for our community during this surge with thorough planning and precautionary measures," AdventHealth said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "With the spike of seriously ill patients in our hospitals, it's prudent that we prepare for an increase in deaths and are putting resources in place to provide additional capacity if needed"

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Florida has been shattering COVID-19 records and leads the United States in number of deaths related to the virus.

The state is reporting an average of 227 deaths every day from COVID-19, according to The Washington Post. And with a daily average case count of more than 21,600, the pandemic is now the worst it has been in Florida yet.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been promoting monoclonal antibody therapy treatments for COVID-19 patients. The treatment is currently available to patients 12 years and older who are high-risk, have contracted or been exposed to the virus.

DeSantis signed legislation in May that stopped all restrictions related to COVID-19, including mask mandates.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles